Rigoletto / Austin Lyric Opera : 4 of 5
Rigoletto is one of my favorite operas, not only because of the incredible music (most of which is much more dramatic than the famous La donna e mobile), but because the story is so sad and tragic in a Shakespearean way. I tend to enjoy character extremes such as Gilda's total innocence and the evil of the duke and his men, while poor Rigoletto is stuck in the middle, responding the only way he knows how. I've seen this opera many times in very different productions, from Austin Lyric Opera's coliseum version in 2002 to an incredible modern interpretation with Rigoletto in a wheelchair (rather than being a simple hunchback), but I was happy to see this year's more traditional version, with period costumes and beautiful sets. The moonlit look of Rigoletto's home was just like a painting, and the assassin Sparafucile's two-story house was particularly amazing! Rigoletto himself was wonderful, able to express his inner hatred in each swing of his jester's staff, and Gilda was simply as beautiful as her excellent voice. The duke was played well with lots of gusto, although there were moments that made me feel he was a bit unsure of his voice (but these didn't detract from the overall ensemble performance). While I love to experience new pieces, there's just something special about seeing something so familiar, ready for each turn of the music before it happens, and I enjoyed every minute of it (even though I was fighting off my runny nose and cough!). I'm really happy with my new season subscriber seats, which are so convenient and have a fantastic view, so I'm looking forward to the rest of the season (as well as the next!).